For the Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers, this weekend’s game either sends them to the Super Bowl or sends them home.
Coach Mike McCarthy’s Green Bay Packers have made it to the playoffs for the last eight seasons. They have been a model of consistency in the NFL and for all their accomplishments and double win seasons (seven of the last eight) they’ve only netted one Super Bowl win. Nobody is saying it’s “easy” to win the Super Bowl, but a team like the Packers has set a precedent for themselves that anything less – would be a disappointment.
On the Atlanta side of things, head coach Dan Quinn has a Super Bowl win as well, but as a defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks. He, along with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan have helped to coach up the leagues number one offensive, ringing in 33.8 points per game. Quinn was on thin ice coming into the year, and as a defensive minded coach, fans of the dirty-birds expected something a little more south than the 25 points a game this defense gives up. The defense has gotten noticeably better late in the year, but that includes games against Colin Kapernick and Jared Goff, so hold a torch for those numbers as much as you’d like. . .
Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers brings along with him, his 40 touchdown passes on the year, but as earlier reported by Ed Werder “Jordy Nelson and Davonte Adams responsible for 26 of Aaron Rodgers 40 TD passes. Both uncertain for Sunday.” This would be huge blow to the Packers (Captain Obvious, reporting for duty!) but chances are, Rodgers will at least have one of the two. Jordy is by far the better receiver who has the better chemistry with Rodgers though. The truth is, the Packers offensive line has led the late season charge for the Packers, as Rodgers seems like he has all day to make passes lately – and even when he doesn’t – he’s in such a groove right now it doesn’t even matter. . .
Matt Ryan is having, without a doubt, the best season of his nine year career. Posting career bests in touchdown passes, quarterback rating, completion percentage and total yardage. The Falcons offense has been too much for anyone to handle as virtually every member of this offense is a threat to break open a big play or be a threat in the red zone (13 players in total have been on the receiving end of a Matt Ryan touchdown pass).
Both teams have been on a roll, but while the Packers are healing from the thrilling shoot-out-style victory they had last week in Dallas – the Falcons are sitting pretty after shutting down one of the most loud-mouthed teams in the NFL in the Seahawks.
The wise-guys at Vegas are treating this game like a Big12 Conference match-up and have set the over/under at 61 (ridiculous for an NFL game).
There is no doubting the firepower of both offenses, it’s all about which defense will make more stops. . .
As talented as Aaron Rodgers is, Matt Ryan is gifted in his own right and has more talent to work with. The running back tandem of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are true dual-threats from the half-back position, while Robinson, Sanu and Gabriel have done well for themselves being on the field with (and even at times without) the great Julio Jones at wide receiver. Rodgers has a wide-receiver turned running back as his best player in the back field, and last week he relied on an undrafted wide-out named Geronimo Allison and Jared Cook, a veteran tight end who was released by. . . the Rams. . .yuck.
With Rodgers simply having to do everything, it will be too much to handle. This Atlanta offense – will not – and I repeat – will not stumble against a defense like Green Bay’s that allows 4 yards a rush and allows opposing QB’s to throw at a 65% completion rate. Not saying the Falcons defensive stats are much better – - they are just all around, a more talented team. And that’s what it’s all about at this time in the season: the better team, not the better player. . .
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